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Matthias Sommer, Purpl Scientific:

“Phenohunting went from a month-long process to being done in 3 days”

"Overall, the current trends in the industry are consolidation and competition. It is necessary to not only differentiate yourself from the competition but also to save costs," says Matthias Sommer, Executive Director of Purpl Scientific. The company's portable Purpl Pro device measures THC and CBD potency, as well as water activity. To make things easy for the user, the results can be seen on a mobile app. According to Matthias, the device can be a major cost saver for growers. "Not only do you not need a scientist for the analysis, you're also saving lots of time. Especially for the phenohunting process, this is a major benefit. One of our clients got their phenohunting process down from a month-long process to just taking 3 days to do all the tests. Especially at scale, the time and money that can be saved by doing your own testing is significant."

The Purpl team at this year's ICBC Berlin. Pictured here: Mike Dorrmann and Csilla Burjan

From small to large scale
Purpl Scientific was created in 2018 as a cannabis division of a larger spectroscopy company in Germany. "We showed off our first products at MJBizCon in 2019, where we immediately received interest," Matthias says. "I think that in the beginning, our success was related to the fact that, even though cannabis was becoming increasingly legal in the United States, it hadn't (and still hasn't) yet reached federal legality. At the same time, through more and more states legalizing, people were becoming more and more aware of cannabis. The legacy growers did not have a way to test their product, as they were not yet welcome at reputable test houses, so our solution was immediately popular in those circles."

At the start of the industry, many people were also interested in being able to distinguish between THC and CBD. "People wanted to be able to verify their purchase, making sure their cannabis was THC or CBD dominant. By simply putting a ground flower on top of the Purpl Pro, it will tell you the percentage of THC or CBD. The device is able to read from 2-30% THC and 1-15% CBD currently. We are working on expanding those ranges over time," Matthias says.

In recent years, the company has been aiming to focus on the more large-scale growers. "It's not just the legacy growers anymore. There are now several multi-billion dollar companies making cannabis. Our current focus is adding another product line that caters to industrial manufacturers as a quality control device for internal use," Matthias says. "Of course, our testers cannot be used to replace state-mandated testing, but it can still offer some great benefits when growers can test their products in-house." Purpl is currently working with an MSO to develop a product that caters to the needs of the larger producers. "We have an R&D agreement with them, and we're generating new tools that they can benefit from. With a software update, the device will also be able to test extracts, instead of just ground flower."

Market developments
"Overall, the industry seems to be divided into two categories," Matthias says. "There is a very strong market of small growers, or the boutique growers. In many ways, they drive the industry. They tend to come up with new ideas and are setting trends. Then, there's another class of growers, the large vertically integrated operations. There's not a lot in between these two, it's just a question of competition. You either have to have essentially zero overhead or a lot of it and get really big. Therefore, I think it's important for us to cater to both these types of growers, helping them to reach their best potential in the competitive market."

For more information:
Purpl Scientific